Bully In The Bully Pulpit Trumps Trademark Oppositions
Bully in the Bully Pulpit: Trump's Trademark Oppositions
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Donald Trump is a bully. Boy, if I had a dollar every time I heard that... I’d have some TRUMP MONEY. (Bad pun intended.) Whether Donald Trump is a bully, is a hotly debated subject.
But Trump is a certain type of bully...a brand bully.
Trump's Trademark Registrations
Starting long before Trump was the President of the United States of America, Trump fought vehemently to protect his brand. Federal trademark protection has been a vital asset for Trump’s businesses. And he certainly files a lot of trademarks. In fact, records show Trump himself, his campaign, and his businesses hold more than active 200 trademark registrations.
Here are some of Trump’s noteworthy trademark registrations, and they are rather fascinating:
Central Park (Side Note: This is Trump’s oldest active mark that is still used today for “bus terminal and automobile parking garage services.”), Fifth Avenue, Trumptini, Trump Vodka, Trump Ice, Trump Home, Trump Plaza, Trump Palace, Trump Card, Success by Trump, Make America Great Again, And Trump seems to always be thinking of new things to trademark no matter where he is or what he’s doing.
During an interview with the Washington Post he exclaimed that his new 2020 campaign slogan was going to “Keep America Great.” And even summoned his lawyer into the room during the interview to see if he could get the federal trademark registration rolling. But why in the world would Trump need over 200 trademarks? Is he greedy or something?
Whether Trump is greedy depends on who you ask, but from a business perspective it makes perfect sense. Filing for federal trademark protection, even proactively, is important if a business plans on selling, marketing, or offering goods or services under that name because federal trademark registration gives one legal rights. So it is not necessarily greed, it’s just good business acumen.
Importance of Trademarks for Trump
Moreover, Trump, and his team of lawyers, are extremely vigilant and vigorous about trademark enforcement. Trademark enforcement is an important part of being a trademark owner and running a successful business. And Trump knows that failing to enforce one of his many trademarks can seriously hurt his profitability and the Trump brand.
In fact, Donald Trump has stated that his net worth is in excess of $8.7 billion largely because of his success in marketing and protecting his brand. Trump does not discriminate when it comes to who he files trademark oppositions against. He has filed against large corporations, small corporations, mom-and-pop businesses, and even against members of his own family. By filing trademark oppositions he has successfully prevented federal trademark registrations for a San Antonio-based maker of mobile BBQ pits and a New York City-based seller of footwear for infants and toddlers.
He also has fought companies that seek to register trademarks that slightly vary from his name like Trumpit, for clothing, and iTrump, for software. In 2007, Trump even asked the USPTO for an extension on his opposition against his own daughter, Ivanka Trump. He was trying to block her from using her name IVANKA TRUMP for “hotel services, restaurant services, and health spa services.”
Eventually Ivanka abandoned her application in 2008.,Here are some of Trump’s more fascinating trademark oppositions:
(1) Donald Trump vs. Ivana Trump - 2006,On March 28, 2006, Donald Trump filed a trademark opposition against his first wife Ivana Trump. Ivana had filed an intent-to-use application for the mark IVANA TRUMP for use with “real estate services” including “real estate development” and “real estate advertising services.” In his opposition Donald Trump referred to his own federally registered trademarks which included, TRUMP PALACE, TRUMP TOWER, and TRUMP PARK AVENUE. In the opposition Trump stated he had used “the name and trademark TRUMP in connection with a multitude of high-profile real estate projects.” And that Ivana’s proposed mark would be too confusingly similar to Donald Trump’s own numerous and famous TRUMP marks. Ivana Trump eventually abandoned her IVANA TRUMP trademark application.
(2) Donald Trump vs. Prospector Capital Partners, Inc.’s “Trump Your Competition” - 2014. In 2014, Trump filed an opposition against Prospector Capital Partners, Inc., a Lake Tahoe, Nevada-based marketing firm, for the mark TRUMP YOUR COMPETITION. In the opposition, Trump’s attorneys claimed that TRUMP YOUR COMPETITION was likely to be confused with several of Trumps trademarks like TRUMP ATTACHE, TRUMP MODEL MANAGEMENT, and TRUMP CARD among many others.
However, Prospector Capital Partners didn’t back down that easy. The company’s attorneys asked the U.S. District Court to compel testimony from Donald Trump himself! However, Trump’s attorneys replied with a letter stating, “Given Mr. Trump’s status as a high-profile, high-level executive of the Trump Organization, his unfamiliarity with the facts and issues involved in this proceeding, and his busy schedule, Mr. Trump is not an appropriate witness to be questioned in this matter.”
Eventually U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein, rejected Prospector Capital Partner’s attempt to summon Donald Trump to testify for the case, explaining that Trump had no unique knowledge about the case. Judge Hellerstein stated, "I see no point in the deposition other than to harass him during a presidential campaign.” And by March 2016, Trump’s attorneys filed a Withdrawal of Opposition with Prejudice.
Trump's Trademark Oppositions
Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America. And now, regardless of your political ideologies everyone can agree that two things are for sure when the word bully is associated with Donald Trump: (1) he will commandeer the bully pulpit and (2) he is a legitimate brand bully.
Donald Trump is a brand bully who vigorously protects his trademarks and enforces them against others. His net worth is largely attributed to his success in marketing and protecting his brand. Filing for federal trademark protection is essential for businesses planning to sell or offer goods and services under a specific name. Trump's trademark oppositions have included cases against large corporations, small businesses, and even members of his own family. Overall, Trump's trademark strategy is driven by good business acumen and a desire to maintain the profitability and reputation of the Trump brand.
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